A young woman is dead after a car smash near Invercargill early today.

Elizabeth Daisy Moss, 19, of Invercargill was the sole occupant of a vehicle which left the road and crashed about 12.30am, Senior Sergeant Mark Lucas said.

She died at the scene.

She was not found until about 4am, when a passing motorist spotted her car, which was visible from the road.

No other vehicles involved in the Otatara accident, 5km southwest of Invercargill.

Police were investigating the cause.